By Anna Poulter-Hendrickson
Special to GoHolyCross.com
The Holy Cross men's track and field team is set to kick off the 2010-2011 indoor season on Saturday, Dec. 4 at Brown University. Head coach Jim Kavanagh returns 28 from last year's squad and welcomes 21 newcomers to the team. The Crusaders start the indoor season on Dec. 4 at the Alden Invitational and will compete at the Harvard Open on Dec. 11 before pausing for winter break. Team competition will resume on Jan. 22 with a meet at New Hampshire.
Kavanagh will look to senior captains Chris Bergan, James Fletcher, Connor LaClair and Kenneth McKenna to lead the team on and off the track. "Connor and Ken have been remarkable during the preseason," said Kavanagh. "They have helped coordinate the preseason training. In terms of leadership, I don't think I could have had anyone better than the two of them." Bergan and Fletcher will transition to the track from the cross country course after serving as the cross country captains this fall. "The cross country captains have a whole season of competition behind them right now. Chris not only did a good job of leadership, but ran the best he has ever run." Bergan finished his senior season on the cross country course as Holy Cross' number two runner, finishing 45th overall at the Patriot League Championship and racing at the Northeast Regional. Fletcher is hoping to rebound from an injury that limited his action this fall and Kavanagh expects him to get under the 4:30 mark in the mile if he stays healthy.
Holy Cross' strength on the track will be in the distance events. Juniors Dan Altenau and Cory Loftis, along with Bergan, will anchor the Crusaders in the distance events. "Dan is coming off of a fantastic cross country season and we are hoping that Cory will join him," commented Kavanagh. During the cross country season Altenau led the Crusaders in five of the six races he competed in, including recording a personal best time at the New England Championship and earning Patriot League Runner of the Week honors. Kavanagh is hoping that Loftis can recover from an injury that plagued his cross country season and make an impact on the track. "Cory has been battling a leg injury, but along with Dan is a great one-two punch in the both the 5k and 3k for the indoor season."
Senior Brendan Medeiros will be looking to make a splash in the mile for the Crusaders, but will also play an important role in the success of the 4x800 relay. "We are expecting a very big season from Brendan," said Kavanagh. "He loves the mile and indoor track. He will be a leader in the mile and the 4x800." Medeiros led the Crusaders last year with team-best times in the 500 and 1,000 during the indoor season.
Kavanagh sees the 4x800 as Holy Cross' top relay of the season and the team's success will be due to the depth and competition for the top four spots. Junior Stephen Madsen, sophomores Chris Schaller and Nick Poles, along with newcomers Nick Athanasidy and Nick Petsky will all be making a run at the 4x800 and Kavanagh expects the results to be big. "All of them should be in the hunt for the four spots in the 4x800 and that should be a great relay team."
LaClair and fellow senior Alex Johnson will lead Holy Cross in the sprint events this season. LaClair was Holy Cross' top performer in the 100 last season and Kavanagh expects him to be a force in the sprints all the way up to the 400. Johnson will help the team in the dashes and short sprints in the indoor season, moving to his top event, the 400 hurdles, for the outdoor season. Johnson was Holy Cross' top performer in the 400 hurdles last year, earning his best time of the season at the Patriot League Championship. Joining Johnson in the hurdle events will be newcomers Thomas St. Cyr, Tim Moczula and Ross Davies.
Kavanagh sees McKenna as the leader of the throwers and anticipates a strong season for the senior. "He has done a great job in the weight room," commented Kavanagh. "He will be competitive in the Patriot League in the weight throw and a leader on the team in the shot put." Kavanagh has been impressed by newcomers Quinn Kaiser and Kyle Carr so far this season. Although both are new to the weight throw, they have shown great promise in the event.
Assistant coach John Hoogasian, who works primarily with the Holy Cross jumpers and vaulters, is optimistic about the season. "We are blessed by having more athletes in each of the events, they just need to develop," commented Hoogasian. Hoogasian will look to juniors Alex Martin and Michael Millard to lead the team in the triple jump and pole vault events. "We are optimistic about Alex in the triple jump. He did very well at the end of last season and so far in practice he has shown that he is equal to or better than last season." Martin led the Crusaders in the long jump and triple jump events last year. "I am expecting Alex to place at the Patriot League Championship and qualify for the New England Championship." Millard recorded his best height of the season in the pole vault at the Patriot League Indoor Championship and Hoogasian expects him to be a contender at the Championship event this year. The Crusaders also add depth with the return of sophomore Nick Foster and the addition of newcomers St. Cyr and Paul Coulter.
The Crusaders will resume competition after winter break when they host the Holy Cross Field Events Competition on Jan. 5 in the Holy Cross Field House. Holy Cross will travel to the Crowell Open on Jan. 8, the Sorlien Memorial Invitational on Jan. 14 and Yale Invitational on Jan. 15. The Crusaders close out the month of January with a dual meet at New Hampshire (Jan. 22) and the Boston Indoor Games (Jan. 28).
Holy Cross starts February with a dual meet at Maine (Feb. 5), followed by the Valentine Invitational (Feb. 11-12) and the Patriot League Championship (Feb. 18-20). The month ends at the New England Indoor Championship (Feb. 25-26). Qualifying members of the team will compete at the IC4A Championship on March 5-6 in Boston, Mass.